According to 2 Corinthians 9:2, Paul was writing to Christians “in Achaia.”
In Paul’s time, Greece was governed by the Romans and divided into two provinces, Achaia and Macedonia. Corinth was the capital of Achaia.
Paul starts 2 Corinthians 9:1 by mentioning “this service to the saints.” According to Romans 15:25-27, what was “this service”?
It was an offering being collected for the “poor among the saints in Jerusalem.”
Also from Romans 15:25-27, answer the following questions:
Were the Christians in Achaia and Macedonia Jewish or Gentile? Gentile
Were the recipients of the offering Jewish or Gentile? Jewish
What type of blessing had the Jewish believers bestowed upon the Gentile believers, spiritual or material? Spiritual
Were the Gentile Christians repaying their Jewish brethren with spiritual or material blessings? Material (in the offering they were collecting)
Go back through the main part of the devotion (the image), reading the notes in the margins beside the text. Make note of any thoughts or any verses that stir your heart and tell why.
Make a list of things for which you are thankful. Spend some time in prayer thanking God for these blessings.
You might send a “Thank You” card or note to someone you feel particularly thankful to have in your life.
You might use the things you wrote down in the meditation section, things for which you are thankful, to help you brainstorm ideas for how you might encourage someone less fortunate in that area. Examples in this month’s devotion (under the heading “Suggestions for planning encouragement projects this coming holiday season”) included:
Start by cultivating a heart of thanksgiving. Take some time to write down the things for which you are thankful. Then, while you are feeling grateful for your abundance, actually plan how you will give to encourage someone less fortunate. For example …
- Thankful for your children? Contact a children’s home to see how you could be of service. Getting your own children involved is also a great way to teach them to become ministers of encouragement.
- Thankful for your husband? See if a shelter for battered women needs assistance.
- Thankful for the ability to provide food and shelter for your family? Volunteer at a homeless shelter or give to a food pantry.
Write down any ideas for “planned giving” that you might want to pursue this holiday season. Remember that your giving may be in the material realm, but it might also be in service or in the spiritual realm (for example, teaching, mentoring, or prayer).
What do you specifically want to do in response to this month’s devotion? I am hoping your heart has been stirred to plan some generous giving projects for this holiday season.